The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Discuss the impending Beta release of Paradox!

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The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby Gobberwart » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:45 pm

Summary: We're going to focus on getting to Beta by June 30, 2010, so we have to impose restrictions on "fun stuff" for a while. That's it. The below is just details for those who are interested in that sort of thing or those with nothing better to do.

If you're familiar with my work, and if you've played the game you will be, you'll know this post is going to be long and waffly and potentially quite dull, with occasional gems of information (and possibly humour - Americans read "humor") hidden deep inside

Some may find it surprising, but it takes an unbelievable amount of time and effort to put together a game like this, especially with almost no money and a very small group of part-time volunteers spread across multiple timezones. I suspect many people think we just sort-of copy/paste vague ideas into some awesome auto-game-making software and it just does everything for us, but that's actually not the case.

There are more than 1,000 graphic elements, hundreds of thousands of words and a whole stack of complicated and intricate mechanics, tied together by well over a million lines of code and a reasonably complex database schema. None of this is a matter of just copying and pasting either. Every single word, image, line of code etc. needs to be thought about in detail to ensure it's mechanically sound, secure, functional, free from silly typos and contains plenty of bum jokes. Really, you'd be amazed just how much work is required even to implement a single item in the game, let alone a stack of zones, multiple encounters, multiple-multiple items etc. etc. etc.

On top of all that, there's the incidental "Administrative Overhead" that goes on daily, just to keep the game running. We're talking about things like monitoring/maintaining servers, taking backups, dealing with forums, handling player disputes, even just trying to maintain a presence in chat etc.

What we've discovered over the past couple of years is that things like holidays, while they're fun and provide instant gratification, are an incredible distraction. Take Yule, for example. From initial concept, through planning, writing, drawing, coding, testing and implementation took 5 weeks, and the Yule content was actually *relatively* simple. The holopet introduced a couple of new mechanics that held us up for a couple of days, but in general it was just creating a bunch of new items using code we've used before.

Of course, this could all be done much more quickly if we were a full-time, professional games development company, with all the time and money in the world and no other commitments to distract us (families, paid jobs etc.) but we don't have that luxury, so all we can do is work as hard as we can in the time we have available, and try not to go mad doing it, which is hard since we're all half-mad anyway (optimists, please read "half-sane").

Now, the Paradox Dev Team is committed to getting this game to the Beta stage as soon as possible. We currently have a target date of June 30, 2010 for the Beta release, which includes all the work required to get it there, and a decent amount of Alpha testing and bugfixing/tweaking. This is going to be quite a massive exercise and its success assumes that nothing (or very little) goes wrong, and that we don't get distracted by anything else.

Basically what I'm saying is that, for us to have any chance at all of meeting the deadline (and we really do need to meet it so we can move on), we need to give up a couple of things for a little while. Obviously, the administrative stuff has to stay, but anything else that doesn't actually do anything to help get the game to Beta will be placed firmly on the back burner, and by which I mean it will be taken right off the stove and locked away in a disused toilet until such time as either we hit Beta or we genuinely have time to do it without it having a negative impact on Beta.

If we don't do this, then either Beta will be late, or it will be shoddy. Well, it won't be shoddy, because we wouldn't put the Beta label on anything that's not been fully Alpha tested. So it will be late. Which none of us really wants.

So, what does that ACTUALLY mean?

Well, new holidays are right out, as are major changes to existing holidays. We had discussed a revamped Easter, additional Valentine's Day content, some St Paddy's Day fun and possibly more. That's going to have to wait until AFTER we reach Beta. Will we repeat last year's Easter content? We're not ruling it out. We know it's not as fun as a whole new and exciting chunk of content, and we imagine some collectors/traders are going to be miffed, but really, is a couple of days of frivolity worth a 3-5 week additional delay on Beta, per holiday? That's rhetorical. Anyone who said "yes, it is" will be soundly ignored.

Actually, think about this for a minute. If there are three "special content" holidays between now and June, and each one takes 4 weeks to plan, write, code, test etc. then that's a total of 12 weeks gone out of the 25 weeks available to us. Almost half the time we have available gone just for a few days worth of fun. Not worth it, is it? Also rhetorical.

Limited Edition Items will also be affected to a greater or lesser degree. That doesn't mean there won't be any, but we'll be favouring simplicity over complexity for obvious reasons. December's LEI wasn't too bad, but it's still more complex than we need LEIs to be for a while. That item required multiple item descriptions, combat messages, use messages, graphics, database changes and a new mechanic and took just over a week from concept to implementation. Yeah, it's only a week, but it's a week where we couldn't do anything else of any significance. Multiply that by the four LEIs due for release between now and June 30, and suddenly there's another month's delay.

Other "frivolous" stuff. Basically, anything that we don't need to do in order to achieve Beta in time (that's "need" as in "necessary", not "need" as in "want") will most likely be either rejected or put aside for later.

We will continue to keep in contact, read the forums, fix bugs, and take on board suggestions as always, but we're going to try really hard to avoid getting distracted by anything that doesn't have any impact on Beta and we sincerely hope everyone understands why it's necessary for the game's long-term survival.
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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby SportGuy » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:37 pm

Wow. This is a very brilliant and thoughtful approach. I'm truly impressed. Full steam ahead.

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commandermack
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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby commandermack » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:20 am

Ahh, don't even worry about repeating holidays... I'd much rather you all just get to stepping with the new content releases and "POWER" updates that we are all waiting for... don't even waste an hour. :D

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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby jimmyBUFFET » Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:17 am

I think SOMETHING should come from holidays, but nothing new, for obvious reasons, and repeating them may be too...whats the word...antagonistic in a lot of people's view...I would say a simple sticker is enough to keep the diamonds happy and acknowledge that a holiday is happening...unless, of course, stickers are super hard to make.

-jB
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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby sallyfox » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:14 am

If something can be "done/repeated", it would be nice, providing it doesnt conflict with the prime directive.......

stealing time :evil:

Though I think we have been really spoilt for holidays goodies over quite a long period....... mebbe none for a few months would make "things appreciate, and generally make people appreciate. But then perhaps a game site may not be the best place to encourage charactor building sacrafice...... :roll: :?:

I support the best way....... whatever its deemed :lol:

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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby Impalix » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:55 am

I am in full support of this. If anything, we can roll any new ideas for holidays after Beta into one massive disgusting ball of celebration all its own. Actually, that sounds hella fun. Let's do that.

Anyways, I can't tell you how exciting this is. Good luck and I'll do my best to support all of you and the community!


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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby Cowboy » Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:23 pm

I think we should ignore all holidays except Beta and April Fools day. Fools are always fun.
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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby Zammorak » Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:03 pm

I would rather have a repeat of those holidays than have no holidays at all, but whatever course of action you deem necessary is fine with me.


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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby Cowboy » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:04 pm

That's also fine. If you don't repeat the holidays at the very least I expect a sticker :P
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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby Gobberwart » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:30 pm

Noted.
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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby Impalix » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:14 pm

Stickers make the diamond in me oh so happy~

So do tildes~~~

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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby commandermack » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:56 pm

Impalix wrote:I am in full support of this. If anything, we can roll any new ideas for holidays after Beta into one massive disgusting ball of celebration all its own. Actually, that sounds hella fun. Let's do that.

Anyways, I can't tell you how exciting this is. Good luck and I'll do my best to support all of you and the community!


Ahaha, i support this 100%, having like the 2-8 holidays we miss up to after Beta into one Super Major Holiday event at like 28 days after Beta Release would be pretty interesting... given 28 days is a long enough time... which it wouldn't be im sure... so you would have to make it like 3 months... making sure to include any other missed holiday via developing into this... Would be interesting to have a booze/love/explosion/egg/candy/prank/schools out/internetz/wessonian day... who knows... could be like a holiday carnival outside the wessonian... idk, just thinking of something to get you by. :P


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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby Cowboy » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:40 am

Well, new holidays are right out, as are major changes to existing holidays. We had discussed a revamped Easter, additional Valentine's Day content, some St Paddy's Day fun and possibly more. That's going to have to wait until AFTER we reach Beta.

VALENTINES FAIL

Still I like the new items
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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby Gobberwart » Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:28 pm

Fail????? Sorry, what's your point? We were able to provide players with some new valentine's day content without any noticable impact on beta progress. I call that win.
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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby sallyfox » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:46 pm

Well, I had a blast........

Even spending nearly an hour REPLYING, it made my day......... Really! :D

A few new trinkets and PEOPLE POWER, made it one of the best holiday (day) ( for me) in a long while.

Makes ya think, huh? :wink:


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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby Cowboy » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:12 am

Gobberwart wrote:Fail????? Sorry, what's your point? We were able to provide players with some new valentine's day content without any noticable impact on beta progress. I call that win.


My mistake I thought it took off of beta progress since there were so many items... good job then :D
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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby Grokly » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:32 pm

Folks, please do not read ANYTHING into what happened on Valentine's Day. This change to the gift shop having standard items and occasional seasonal items is something we have been meaning to do since we first opened the store. Turns out you've only had Valentine's Day stuff to give as a gift for a year.

If you look at each gift item, they do nothing. No use messages to write, nothing more than an item description and an image. We took the time to do this because:

A) We knew (or at least thought) the community would appreciate it, and
B) it took a day to do.

Perhaps, when re-reading Gobb's opening post in this thread, you should remind yourself that, while we may have to go a bit shy on holiday content as we push to Beta, you have a group of folks running the show that knows what it means to play a game and have fun.
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Re: The Fun Police Have Arrived!

Unread postby Gobberwart » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:31 am

Also please remember that there are a lot of things on the beta list. Some are very small, some are quite large, and some are absofrickinlutely HUGE. Chances are, we're going to work on getting a number of the small things out of the way when we can, which is why you'll see things like new items in stores, new stickers and stuff like that before you see much of anything else.

It doesn't mean we're wasting time, it just means that some things can be done more quickly than others and therefore can get checked off the list.
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